COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- Matthew Cordle, the Powell man who confessed in a YouTube video to killing another driver in a wrong-way crash while drunk, was sentenced to six and a half years in prison Wednesday.
Attorneys for the 22-year old had asked for a "fair and appropriate" sentence to send a message about the value of taking responsibility for a tragedy.
"There's no such thing as a fair sentence when it comes to the loss of a life. The true punishment is simply living," Cordle said.
He apologized in court and said he will never let Vincent Canzani's memory fade.
"Matthew was never concerned about the sentence. Matthew was concerned with raising awareness with respect to drinking and driving and hopefully preventing this type of tragedy from happening to anyone else," said defense attorney George Breitmayer.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien had wanted the maximum eight years, but in court asked Judge David Fais to hand down a sentence on the "high end" of a 2 to 8 year range.
"I would have been disappointed with a minimum sentence," O'Brien said.
Cordle pleaded guilty last month to aggravated vehicular homicide and driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol in 61-year-old Vincent Canzani's death. Cordle was driving on the wrong side of I-670 north of downtown Columbus on June 22 when he slammed head-on into Canzani's vehicle, killing him instantly.
"It should have been me that night, the guilty party, instead of an innocent man," he told the court.
Canzani's daughter Angela testified during the sentencing that while she was pleased that Cordle took responsibility for the fatal crash, her father did nothing wrong and got a death sentence.
"After eight and a half years, Matthew Cordle still has his whole life ahead of him. My father is never coming back", Canzani said.
She worried that anything less than the maximum sentence would send a message that it's okay to hit and kill someone as long as you admit to it later.
Before sentencing, Fais read a letter from Vincent Canzani's ex-wife. She wrote that her late ex-husband wouldn't have wanted to see Cordle get the maximum. She told a story about her father's involvement in a deadly crash and the impact it had on him. She also wrote about a time when Canzani had to go pick up one of his children who had been drinking and didn't want to drive home. He had promised that if they called him when they were in that situation there would be no questions asked.
Fais also read a letter from Harold Dennis, a survivor of the nation's deadliest drunk driving crash. Dennis was on a church bus returning from Kings Island in 1988 when it was hit by a drunk driver on I-71 near Carrollton, Kentucky. 27 people were killed and Dennis suffered third degree burns in the fiery crash. A sign marks the spot where it happened. He told the judge that he heard something in Cordle's video that he's waited 25 years to hear from the man who caused his crash - remorse.
Judge David Fais said the punishment for Cordle was "the appropriate sentence." He told Cordle that the next time he drives down I-71 and sees that marker for the 1988 bus crash he'll think of him, Canzani, and Dennis.